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The Lightest Object in the Universe

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,227 ratings  ·  261 reviews
If the grid went down, how would you find someone on the other side of the country? How would you find hope?

After a global economic collapse and failure of the electrical grid, amid escalating chaos, Carson, a high school teacher of history who sees history bearing out its lessons all around him, heads west on foot toward Beatrix, a woman he met and fell hard for during a
...more
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Algonquin Books
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Lorendia I loved Parable of the Shower, and I loved this book. They both weave in a bit of spirit/faith - but in very different ways. What they do have in…moreI loved Parable of the Shower, and I loved this book. They both weave in a bit of spirit/faith - but in very different ways. What they do have in common: that we should look to the youth to guide us home.(less)
Kimi Eisele Oryx and Crake is a favorite. And Octavia Butler's work, of course. I loved Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. And hundreds and hundreds love…moreOryx and Crake is a favorite. And Octavia Butler's work, of course. I loved Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. And hundreds and hundreds love Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Here is a list of my favorite post-apoc works, beyond literature: https://themillions.com/2019/07/thirt...(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,227 ratings  ·  261 reviews


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Paula
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dystopian fans, & those that enjoy a good love story
Recommended to Paula by: Publisher
This is a first! A dystopian novel about rebuilding rather than destruction!

Kimi Eiseles debut gives us a world where the government no longer exists, electricity is gone, and along with it the economy. Society has collapsed due to a flu outbreak. The heart of the story, however, is about two people in love that are on opposite sides of the country and their journey to get back together.

Beatrix, a fair trade advocate and protester, is on the West Coast, and Carson, a history teacher, is on the
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Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I love post apocalyptic books. I have read my fair share and unfortunately some do not stand out and feel like every other one. It was sadly the case for me with this one.

In the beginning I was getting vibes of "Station Eleven" and even "The Stand" but by the middle point I was bored and struggled to finish the book. I was able to finish it by trying the audiobook but even then I struggled the concentrate.

Gorgeous Cover but forgettable.
Karen’s Library
I'm not crying... YOU'RE crying! Ok... Maybe I'm crying just a little.

I'm a huge fan of apocalyptic stories. There aren't many out there that are actually kind of hopeful. But folks, this one is just that! Very hopeful! Most of the book is about how the goodness of people come through rather than the dregs of society taking over.

The Lightest Object in the Universe is the story of Carson on the east coast, and Beatrix on the west coast. Shortly after a soft apocalypse caused by a flu, Carson
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Scooter McDermitt
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine


For its first third, I found The Lightest Object in the Universe to be deeply frustrating. Here I am reading a novel about the end of the world - flu has wiped out a huge chunk of humanity, the government just sort-of decided to stop working, commerce has collapsed, and the electrical grid has stopped reducing iPhones and computers to useless blocks of plastic and metal - and the world stubbornly refuses to end. Where were the Nuke Pooches,
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Dave
It's so light that it practically floats

The Lightest Object in the Universe is a gentle tale about a future world where modern society just stops functioning. No more internet. No more power plants polluting the air. Forget traffic. People use bicycles. Forget overpopulation. The influenza epidemic took care of that. Let's just farm and trade, fair trade only. No zombies. No aliens. No desperate hordes. And, you know what, there was nothing really compelling about the story. There just wasn't
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Faith Hurst-Bilinski
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Its getting harder to write dystopian novels, I think. The writing here is as beautiful but the story itself didnt capture me the way I thought it would. The back and forth between the stories of the two main characters seemed abrupt and I never really got the sense of wanting them to find each other. ...more
Brittany
Meh... I read Year One too recently before this one and the Stand not that long ago. This was somewhat of a doing the same thing that's been done before but without much of a new arc other than the Mexico setting.

The dual narration is almost more confusing than contributing to the story. The settings don't even seem different enough to be in different countries, which is supposed to be a considerable part of the plot. Ultimately I just got bored with the pace and the lack of exciting elements
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Mark
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Another near-future fiction with a thinly-veiled political agenda, The Lightest Object in the Universe is as crunchy a post-apocalyptic vision as they come. Although a post-collapse Bay Area where all central government control ceases to exist a matter of mere months after an oil shock doesn't hold up to scrutiny, artist and activist Eisele is not that linear a thinker. It doesn't matter a whole lot, because she has some thoughtful characters and many interesting ideas. The novel can get ...more
Chris
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed this!
My childhood neighbor and friend wrote this book and I could not be more proud of her!
I happy bought this at our local indie bookstore and started reading immediately and had no idea what to expect. The extra best thing about this is that this is exactly the sort of book that I would have devoured even if I didn't know the author.
The grid goes down, society collapses, and the characters we follow are trying to survive and sustain themselves post-apocalypse
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Sherron
Dec 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
I love a good post apocalyptic novel, where huge catastrophes force people to dig deep to survive , and hopefully develop their humanity, strength, and character.

This novel starts out slowly , which is ok. Most of the characters have no charm, nothing really happens, and the writing is bland and squishy like Wonder Bread.

The mcs is BeatriX, who used to create fair trade arrangements in third world countries and who, all in all, leads a scrupulously consciousness life. This should be admirable,
...more
Cyndi Becker
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
I'm not a big reader of sci fi/ end of days stories, but I seem to love the few I've "read" via audible (books like: The Age of Miracles, The Dreamers which I actually read - okay so maybe the theme there is the author Karen Thompson Walker ) but I digress.

The Lightest Object in the Universe is one I must add to this list. First, the story is completely captivating. And secondly, the audible is perfectly produced, with distinct voices from the myriad of characters who create this new society.
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Lissa
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
Well-written and full of haunting scenes of post-apocalyptic America, I devoured this book and it grew on me the more that I read it. It follows two adult characters who had a brief romance and are now trying to connect with each other even thought they live on opposite sides of the country. I wish that there was a little more details concerning how society crumbled, but descriptions of the aftermath were some of the best I have read. I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in ...more
Lori
Slightly underwhelmed with this one. Not sure what I had been expecting exactly but I was defintely expecting more. Maybe if the scope had been a bit more narrow? It felt like Kimi was trying to do too much with a storyline that might have benefited from a little less.
Iryna *Book and Sword*
Jun 16, 2019 is currently reading it
Many thanks to Algonquin Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.


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Kasey
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won't be able to write a review that will do Kimi's book justice, but I don't want to "wait until the right time," so here it goes! I was a naughty reader, skimming ahead in a few parts, because I wanted so much to find out what happened next, what happened to certain characters.... so I would allow myself to skip lightly ahead (which I never usually let myself do!), then make myself go back to savor the prose. I wanted both to savor the journey, and to get where we were going next. It's kind ...more
Tammy Moran
Aug 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
Eisels post apocalyptic America is preposterous. Our real world lives are way more challenging and dangerous and thus: more interesting. (Author is either a product of homeschooling or of privilege...or both.) I guess the super-flu only killed off conservatives, the alt right and anarchists?

The prologue describing the fall of America is plausible only because all the evils of destruction are on deck: climate change + financial crash + epidemic + cyber attack = government collapse. Unfortunately
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Rainey
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
I was gifted this book by a bookseller friend along with a recommendation based on how lovely the author is and a pitch of the book as an "uplifting post-apocalyptic novel." Who can resist that?
Not only did The Lightest Object deliver on its promo pitch, the graceful, careful, utter humanity of the writing blew me away from the very first page. Eisele handles our grief, our flaws, and our very hearts with such delicacy as is rarely encountered. I cannot recommend this enough.
Nadine Jones
I've yet to meet a dystopian I don't want to read. Lemme at it!
Sam Sattler
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopian
I count dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels among my favorites, but having read quite a few of them over the years Ive started to realize that finding something even a little different in the genre is not easy not that Im going to let that keep me from trying. Kimi Eiseles The Lightest Object in the Universe is one dystopian novel that does manage to stand out from the crowd a bit. And thats both the good news and the bad news.

When the world economy finally crashes from all the abuses its
...more
Jennifer
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Lightest Object in the Universe follows Carson and Beatrix, a couple that began a long-distance relationship prior to the apocalypse, an event that unfolded over years but was cemented by the final loss of the nation's power grid. As they both grapple with how to proceed in a world with no electricity, very little gasoline, and not even a reliable national mail service, the reader watches as Beatrix tries to establish a community where she lives and Carson decides to set out on foot to be ...more
Caitlin Tremblay
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
What I loved most about this book is how, despite conflicts and arguments, the main thread is love and connection. With the internet its easy to feel connected to people you care about at all times but are you really? In this novel theres no internet, no infrastructureall thats left are the connections they had before the grid went down and the connections they make while trying to survive and rebuild. ...more
Georgette
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi, fantasy
Is happiness possible in a post-apocalyptic world? Eisele makes you believe it is. A pretty good book for the subject matter.
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Lightest Object in the Universe

I love to be surprised this book surprised me. Sci-fi is not normally my go-to genre and I was a bit worried I might not be able to give this book its deserved praises. I was wrong, I could not put it down. This book is about love, deceit, survival, and perseverance. This is the story of two human beings who do not give up on humanity after a major apocalyptic event. One stays put in her neighborhood and helps build a new community. The other starts a long journey across a continent to join the
...more
Bruin Mccon
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-ebook
The Lightest Object in the Universe is the story of the United States after all the lights have gone out. Separated from technology, the remainder of the population not wiped out by a virulent flu struggle to find their way in a new world by tapping into skills of the old world.

Carson, a high school principal whose wife passed when technology was still around, sets off from the East Coast on a journey to his girlfriend who lives out west. Beatrix, his girlfriend, travels back from a free trade
...more
Cathie
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-rc-goal
Great premise; started out good. However, I couldn't rate this higher and in line with Station Eleven, The Road, and the Devil's Wake series.

Tammy Parks
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Eiseles post apocalyptic world, a global financial crisis has left a destroyed infrastructure and a non-existent government in its wake, and a raging flu epidemic has wiped out most of humanity. Amid all the chaos, a man from the east coast named Carson sets out on foot, walking across the country toward San Francisco, hoping to find his love, Beatrix.
This story doesnt focus on all the horrors of a post apocalyptic world, although they are mentioned. Instead it focuses on the kindness that
...more
Alicia
Mar 22, 2020 added it
I don't know how to review this book. I don't know what I would have thought of it before covid-19, I only know that listening to this as an audiobook while in self-isolation was at the beginning almost too much. As the story continues, as real life events unfurl - it was a gift of a story. There's a reference to a song in this book which felt like getting the wind knocked out of me, and the characters seemed to acknowledge the humility of humankind. I do not know if this will provide any ...more
Amanda McClendon
Nov 29, 2019 rated it liked it
It reads like a white liberal version of the apocalypse (and no mistake that our two star-crossed lovers in this book are, in fact, white liberals): The nation falls as a result of its consumption, and the solution is to come together and rebuild community by using our skills to help each other survive. It's almost a little too neat, a little too idealistic.

And yet.

I kept reading, because under it all, there is love between these people, and there is hope, even though the world's been shot to
...more
Jamie (mylittlebookwormclub)
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Global infrastructure no longer exists. No electricity. No phones. No postal service. People are starving and succumbing to the flu. Carson, determined to walk 3000 miles to find Beatrix. Rogue teen gangs, a radio evangelical, endearing love, community, and hope. This novel has it all.
Vicki
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is lovely. Sad, inspiring, lovely. I know I'm going to like a story when I both can't put it down, but also don't want to finish it. I don't want it to end, don't want anything bad to happen to anybody I've come to be invested in. This is that kind of book.
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Kimi Eisele is the author of The Lightest Object in the Universe, a novel. Her work has appeared in Longreads, Guernica, Terrain.org, High Country News, Orion, Fourth Genre, and other publications. She holds a masters degree in geography from the University of Arizona, where in 1998 she founded You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography. Also a performing and visual artist, her work has been ...more

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